Our internet friend Kim wrote to Francesca:
I have found out recently that I am pregnant, and being the shopaholic that I am I’ve starting shopping around the web for maternity wear. Unfortunately, I’ve only been finding up to sizes 18, and I am a 20. Do you have some places to recommend?
Regarding the impending birth of your child, Francesca says: Congratulations! May your baby be healthy and happy and bring out the very best in you. And let you sleep sometimes. Francesca wishes you all the best! xoxo!
Regarding your search for size 20 maternity wear, Francesca says: Ayyyy! Kim has set for Francesca a most difficult quest indeed!
Francesca has never been pregnant, but for her friend Kim she spent a goodly amount of time researching the fashion choices of the plus-size woman with a bun in the oven.
Slim pickin’s, ladies. It is slim pickin’s. (No pun intended.)
First of all, Francesca will not recommend any place that offers plus-size maternity wear. It must be superfantastic maternity wear. And here is where we immediately hit a terrible, terrible obstacle. The internet is rife — rife, I say — with online vendors who do not understand that a pregnant plus-size woman does not need to look like a flowery cow draped with a polyester blanket. More than once, Francesca turned her head from the computer, pulling at her hair and shouting “my eyes! my eyes!”
And then there is the additional challenge of finding clothes which indeed go up to size 20, rather than just size 16 or 18. From Kim, the new baby will surely learn the values of resourcefulness, persistence, and creative problem-solving!
There are two sites which Francesca deems to offer a large selection of super-fantastic choices for the plus-size pregnant lady. By “superfantastic” Francesca means, in this context, that the clothes have some shape, and not all of them are made of polyester, and that there is a good likelihood of finding items appropriate for work or for a date with one’s partner at a fancy restaurant to celebrate the success in getting knocked up. Finding clothes for staying home folding laundry is easy. Finding clothes for a meeting with a new client is the challenge for Francesca!
One of these worthy-of-Manolo sites is Maternity Clothing Fashions, which has some items available in Size 20. Kim should note that the sizing scale is different for each item (there is a chart on each page), and so some size 20 clothing corresponds to 3X, and some to 4X. Finding the size 20 takes some searching, but it is there if you look hard enough. Luckily, the pregnancy lasts only 9 months, and a few well-chosen pieces, taken care of, will go a long way.
Here is an attractive and versatile off-the-shoulder maternity top which goes up to size 20:
And this skirt is available in white or taupe, through size 20:
Francesca further recommends that Kim read this helpful article at BabyCenter.com, with tips for finding maternity wear in plus sizes, links to vendors (buyer beware! Take care of your eyes!) and tips for making your own clothes.
Finally, for the convenience of our internet friends, Francesca will share with you the short list of vendors which, while not quite as superfantastic as the two above, did not make Francesca want to make like Oedipus. The materials here are not as likely to be high quality, but if one is careful, one can find many useful and perhaps even superfantastic styles for the pregnancy, especially if one searches for “work,” “business casual,” and “evening” clothes:
JCPenny (Women’s sizes are included in the regular category. Tall sizes have their own section)
Lane Bryant (through size 44 for the Kim!)
Happy pregnancy, take care of your feets, and happy shopping!